HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - After pulling the upset in the Desert Vixen division of the Florida Sire Stakes (FSS), It’s High Time will look to prove her victory was no fluke in the second leg of the Sire Stakes series, the $300,000 Susan’s Girl Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
“She’s been doing really good,” trainer Jose Pinchin said of his homebred filly, who will break from post four in the seven-furlong Susan’s Girl, slated as the tenth race on Gulfstream’s Saturday program that includes six stakes. “She’s showed us that she’ll go all out from the get-go.”
It’s High Time’s 3 ¼-length victory in the Desert Vixen silenced the Gulfstream Park crowd on Aug. 8, as the 2-year-old filly upset the heavily favored Ballet Diva, who had won her previous two starts by a combined 16 ¾ lengths. Those wins included a 4 ½-length score in the Cassidy Stakes, in which It’s High Time, an impressive 7 ¼-length debut winner in her own right, finished third.
But It’s High Time, a dark bay daughter of Gone Astray and the Proud Accolade mare My Rolex, turned the tables in the Desert Vixen. She outpaced Ballet Diva early, opened a two-length lead at the top of the stretch and tacked on an additional 1 ¼-length advantage in the lane.
“We expected her to run good,” Pinchin said. “She was doing everything right. Stanley Gold’s filly (Ballet Diva) has been outstanding. We were just better that day.”
Pinchin, who captured two of the three legs of the Sire Stakes filly series last year with fellow homebred Holywell, hopes he can see his filly claim another stakes victory in person Saturday, as he and wife Tracy, the listed owner of the filly, were out of town in Georgia for the Desert Vixen. It’s High Time also gives the Pinchin family a chance at a Sire Stakes sweep. While Holywell captured the final two legs of the series after finishing a troubled sixth in the Desert Vixen, It’s High Time, by winning the opening leg, has an opportunity to do what no other filly can this year: win all three races. The final leg of the series, the My Dear Girl division, will be run Oct. 3.
“That would be nice!” Pinchin exclaimed when asked about the potential of a series sweep. “We are dedicated to our Florida breds. All my mares were bred in Florida. It gives you a sense of accomplishment when you breed your own.”
“[Holywell] was a big filly, while [It’s High Time] is a smaller filly,” Pinchin added. “This filly might be a little bit better. We’ll have to see. She’s got the will to win, which is very important.”
A total of 11 challengers will line up to face It’s High Time in the Susan’s Girl, including the aforementioned Ballet Diva, who will look to rebound for trainer Stanley Gold. Gold, who holds the record for most Florida Sire Stakes victories with 17, will also saddle Silent Prayer, who was runner-up to It’s High Time in the Desert Vixen.
Linda Rice ships in recent maiden winner Big Thrill for the Susan’s Girl. A daughter of Big Drama, who himself swept the Sire Stakes series in 2008, Big Thrill broke her maiden in style at Saratoga on Aug. 12, breaking slowly but finishing with a rush to streak off to a four-length score in her career debut.
Trainer Ralph Nicks will send out a pair in the Susan’s Girl. Both Enterprising Lady, also a First Dude filly, and Shakakan, by Gone Astray, won at first asking for Nicks this summer, but Shakakan will make her dirt debut Saturday after breaking her maiden on turf on July 25.
High End Queen, fourth in the Desert Vixen, will also return in the Susan’s Girl for trainer Herman Willensky, as will maiden winners Secret War, trained by Daniel Pita, and the Larry Pilotti trained Tiz Alta. Shockdedue and Charming Fantasy, both maidens, and first-time starter My Good Venezuela complete the field.